The Blogger’s Nightmare… a struggling author talks

The Blogger’s Nightmare… a struggling author talks

More tales of woe from a struggling author

… a true story…

The struggling author sat in front of his monitor, the blank white screen and endlessly flashing cursor taunting him as he wracked his tortured brain for new content. This time there was no ‘Blogety Blog’ theme tune running through his mind, just the agonising silence of stifled creativity. Almost fifty blogs since the start of the year and now the well had apparently run dry. On reflection, it had been coming for ages, but when it had actually happened it was still a surprise. And what made it worse was that he knew that his masters, the United Brethren of Illustrious Scribes (UBIS), were watching him and that they were displeased.

Inside of prison. Struggling author. Rob Gregory Author

The prison study. Here I lay me down to scribe.

He shuddered as he felt the walls of his prison-study draw imperceptibly closer and stared once more at the screen, willing his fingers to move across the keyboard to satisfy the desperate urge to fill the snowy electronic landscape before him with dancing black glyphs, but they traitorously refused to obey his command. And could he blame them? No. After all, they were highly trained and used to producing quality output, not trash. One children’s book, one novel and several short stories this year alone. They weren’t about to sacrifice their reputation by dancing randomly among the keys, just to please the impetuous whim of their deranged owner.

Blurred typewriter keys. Struggling author. Rob Gregory Author

The keys! The keys!

The screen remained impassively blank and the author breathed deeply, trying to calm himself as he fought back the rising tide of panic inside him. Now I know how McDuggan felt, he thought, as the fear subsided and a moment of calm descended.

Alley in Barcelona in B&W. Struggling author. Rob Gregory Author

Run McDuggan. Run. And beware the dreaded spider-freaks!

It had all been so easy in the beginning. He’d written about New Zealand, Thailand and his time at Reading and Oxford Universities. He’d written stories about alcohol and politics. He’d come up with amusing anecdotes about crime fighting, buying fast food and barbarian chefs, all without batting an eyelid. He even had a list of future blog ideas tucked away on his laptop, but just like the manwurzle joints on his beloved car, something fundamental was broken and his ‘inspirometer’ was at an all-time low.

Electric light. Struggling author. Rob Gregory Author

When routine bites hard and inspiration is low.

The sound of a motorcycle with a de-restricted exhaust penetrated the thick concrete walls of the prison-study and the author looked away from the screen to the heavily barred window some twelve feet above him. The rapturous noise made him long for the freedom of the outside world, but until he’d published his mandatory blog, then his overlords would not let him be. Like the harpies that tormented King Phineus of Thrace, these unseen monsters tore at his words in the womb of his subconscious, shredding his ideas before they could see the light of day, leaving a hollowed-out shell of a man to try and piece something worthwhile together before they attacked again.

Man curled up against door. Struggling author. Rob Gregory Author

The relentless destruction of creative thought or a modern day King Phineus.

A sudden flicker on the screen caught his eye and he fought back a shriek of horror as he saw the screensaver kick in. Reflexively, he grabbed the mouse and knocked it sideways, banishing the multi-coloured bubbles back to their own demonic universe. Chest rising and falling heavily from the near miss, he stared once more at the screen, almost daring it to remain blank. “What on earth am I going to write about?” he asked himself, his voice echoing emptily off the bleak and unforgiving walls. “I once said that I would write about it all and to hell with the consequences, but that was then. I’m older now and far more worldly-wise.”

Lightning. Struggling author. Rob Gregory Author

Inspiration finally strikes… With a bang, not a whimper!

And then, without warning, a thought struck him, clear and sharp as a bolt of lightning. It didn’t so much emerge, as explode in his head, sending the roiling clouds of uncertainty and doubt fleeing in terror. “I’ll write about the trials and tribulations of being a blogger!” he exclaimed, flinging his arms wide for effect and nearly toppling off his one-legged stool in the process. “That’s what I’ll do! I’ll show them the grim underbelly of a real writer’s life. The pain, suffering and helplessness. That it’s not all roses and champagne. Then they’ll understand and finally, I’ll be free!”

Key lying on wood. Struggling author. Rob Gregory Author

The key to the dreaded prison-study.

At that moment, there was an ominous knocking at the thick iron door, followed by the surprising sound of the dreaded time-lock being deactivated. Quaking at the thought that he must have not only displeased his UBIS masters but those of their parent organisation, the Global Authors Guild (GAG), the struggling author breathed a sigh of relief as the door opened and his wife entered the room.

“Lunch is ready, dear,” she said, her voice lightening the oppressive atmosphere in the prison-study by several notches.

“Thanks, Love. I’ll be right down,” he replied, grateful beyond words for this brief and unexpected respite from the unenviable task at hand. Rising from his stool and letting it fall to the floor beneath him, he crossed over to his wife. Then, taking her gently by the hand, he led her out of the room, shutting the door behind him with a deep clang and leaving the monitor screen resolutely blank.


Old TV lying on a sand dune. Struggling author. Rob Gregory Author

Freedom is a blank TV screen.

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That was the week that was – 25 May 2018

That was the week that was – 25 May 2018

That was the week that was

… 25th of May, 2018…

It’s been a funny old week here in Writing Land. My son’s second week back at school should have heralded the beginning of a fantastic writing streak for yours truly on my new novel, Yogol’s Gold… more about that in a later blog. And indeed, the week did begin with an encouraging run of 2,000 words on Monday, followed by 2,500 on Tuesday and 3,000 on Wednesday. However, excited Tweets early in the week, including one featuring Christopher Walken’s fabulous dance from Fatboy Slim’s ‘Weapon of Choice’ video, proved to be somewhat premature, with Thursday’s output dwindling to a meagre 1,500 words and at time of writing on Friday, absolutely nothing. I’m reminded of Mick Hucknall’s character in Viz’s ‘Billy the Fish Football Yearbook’, who starts off the game with a blistering goal, only to fumble every subsequent chance that he gets. And the most frustrating part of it for me is that I know what I want to say, it’s just that I can’t seem to find the right words for the characters at the moment. Oh well, there’s always next week, I suppose.

Week that was. Billy the Fish yearbook cover. Rob Gregory Author

An essential part of any library, in my opinion.

In other news, I shipped a few bits and bobs out from the UK to Asia a couple of months ago, including a pile of old records from the 1950’s and 60’s. Around the middle of the week, in amongst all of the other interruptions that I was fielding, I found out that the shipment had arrived and was going through Customs clearance. So, with a bit of luck, fingers crossed, knock on a dead man’s head and all that, I might be able to get it delivered next week. And if that’s the case, then as soon as they’re unpacked, I’ll be firing up the record decks and having myself the mother of all ‘Rock and Roll’ discos. Come on over if you’re in the area, it’s going to be good!

Week that was. Rolling Stones album cover. Rob Gregory Author

Stone me, that’s some haircut!

Oh, and don’t forget that ‘Icon Amazed’, Goy Kankanakul’s latest (and dare I say greatest) exhibition, featuring an installation of ‘Drynwideon’ by a chap called R.A. Gregory, is still on at the Meeting Room Art Café until next Thursday, 31 March. If you haven’t had a chance to see it yet, then pop along before it finishes and if you’re in another country or unable to get there in person, then have a look at or

Week that was. R.A. Gregory and Goy Kankanakul. Rob Gregory Author

Me again… and Goy, of course!

Finally, today is a very special day… for me at least. On this day every year, I try to celebrate one of Liverpool’s forgotten treasures, the band known simply as ‘The 25th of May’. Short-lived and controversial, they only made one album, entitled ‘Lenin and McCarthy’, but made an indelible mark on me with their song ‘F*** The Right To Vote (II)’, which I first came across on one of those free tapes that were stuck on the front cover of ‘Select’ magazine, or some such, back in the 1990’s. I have no idea what the boys are up to these days, but whatever they’re doing, I hope that like Jello Biafra, they’re still blowing minds! Peace!

Week that was. 25th of May single cover. Rob Gregory Author

A nice little song about shoplifting.

Blogety Blog. Welcome to my world

Blogety Blog. Welcome to my world

Blogety Blog!

…An aspiring author grapples with his first blog…

Blogety Blog, Blogety Blog, Blogety Blog, thought the struggling author, as the theme tune to ‘Blankety Blank’ ran through his head once again. What to write about? I mean ‘blogging’, that is. It had all seemed so easy at first. Just write the first thing that comes into your head and everything will be okay. Surely it can’t be that difficult? But after having stared at the screen for hours now, endlessly composing and deleting the same tired lines over and over, desperation was starting to set in.

“What can I write about?!” his mind railed in frustration. “Should I write about my books?” he asked himself. “Should I write about the trials and tribulations of being an author? Maybe, I could write about my adventures in New Zealand and Northern Thailand? Now that might just make people smile,” he continued, as his internal monologue rattled on. “Perhaps I could write about my life as a bar owner and restraunter, or maybe I could entertain people by sharing my various likes and dislikes as they relate to movies, TV and books?” The theme tune to ‘Blankety Blank’ chose that moment to run through his head again, triggering a flashback of presenter Les Dawson asking the person operating the game show screen to ‘reveal the Leg-End’.

Then, as fleetingly as it had arrived, the theme tune vanished and along with it, the authour’s doubt. “I know!” he shouted to the grim grey walls of his self-imposed prison-study, “I’ll do it all! That’s what I’ll do. I’ll write about everything and to hell with the consequences! Maybe they’ll like it. Maybe they’ll hate it, Maybe they’ll just ignore it, but at least it will be out there!” And with that, as his exhausted head hit the unyielding wooden desktop, his finger clicked reflexively on the mouse button and he published his first blog.

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